Topic Wiki

List of TR's:
Denverite
saw50st8
dvol
dvol Pictures


Kosher Food/ Restaurants:
Places to Eat:
Aroma Café
Darna Dairy/Bakery
Kava
Jeffrey’s Bakery
Pita Pan
Pita Plus
Lula by Darna
Metsuyan
Hilel Sports Bar and Grill
Darna
La Spezia
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (including 2 at PTY)
Dr. Sandwich
Prime Grill
Forever yogurt in casco viejo- Chalav Yisroel ice cream
Supermarkets:
Superkosher
Supermacardo Deli K

Synagogue:

The Jewish community in Panama is mainly in Panama City in the Punta Paitilla area.
You must bring your passport with you to enter the shuls. You can bring your passport over during the week if you are not staying in the eruv. They will make a copy of your passport.

Sinagoga Beth El – Orthodox, Ashkenazi. After Shabbat morning services, they have a full sit down Kiddush lunch.
They also serve breakfast after weekday shacharit.
Contact Asistente al Rabino secretaria@centrobethel.com - Déborah Wizel

Shevet Ahim – Sephardic. proper attire required, denied entry for shorts.

Ahavat Sion –

Chabad -  bracha Karniel goldberg  brachagold@gmail.com

Things to Do:
Panama Canal
Amador Causeway
Old City
$30 cabbie for all day
Panama John on FT cab and tour guide
San Blas islands
En Valle Market
Casco Viejo
Barefoot Panama tour company
Boquete
Biosphere
Miraflores Locks
Ancon Hill (tallest point in the City)
Anton Valley (hiking, waterfalls, horseback riding)
Panama Viejo
MultiPlaza (high-end mall)
Parque Natural Metropolitano
Partial canal transit
Monkey Island boat tour
Rainforest Gondola tour
Contadora (Pearl Islands) - whale watching, snorkeling/scuba on Chipera, Mogu Mogu, https://pearlislandsdaytours.com/
Rainbow bass fishing
Ziplining
Rent bikes along the water
Rainforest
Beach- Santa Clara and punta palmar both 1.5+ hours from Panama City
Indigenous tribes
Coffee plantations in the mountains
Whale watching
City tour (includes animals)
Chargres River Tour, hike to waterfall, visit Embrera Indian Village
Hiking Portabello road
Natural Metropolitan Park
www.therealpanamatours.com
Almiza Tours/ My friend mario http://www.bscpma.com/mfm/aboutus.htm
Colon
Bocas del Toro
Old city/Casco viejo

Hotels:

Getting Around:
Uber is the best way to get around, cheap and reliable (if you go to the rainforest, there might not be any cars available going back, search before)

Notes:


Please Update the Wiki
« Last edited by zow on February 25, 2019, 01:06:26 PM »

Author Topic: Panama Master Thread  (Read 43076 times)

Offline danshil36

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #300 on: November 29, 2018, 12:03:56 AM »
What are the best options to arrange Shabbat food?

Offline hokiegl

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #301 on: December 26, 2018, 05:52:12 PM »
Is there a picture of the eruv anywhere?

Offline zow

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #302 on: January 07, 2019, 09:12:09 PM »
@Denverite Thank you for all your info. I'm going in 2 weeks with my family with 5 kids ages 1-9. We are also staying at Sortis, I booked 2 regular rooms, I called up to pay for an upgrade to 2 suites, and they told me you don't need to upgrade we will put a note and upgrade you when you come. I called again and got the same response. Did you book a suite, or got upgraded?

We are planing on doing the following:
1) Canal and Monkey Island
2) Embera Village
3) Islas Las Perlas...

Anything else you suggest for a family with young kids?

Thank you again.
@Brian, what was the outcome of your request for an upgrade?
We are going in a month. We have two award bookings for standard rooms, one with points and one with a Cat1-5 7-night cert.  Ideally,  I would be prefer to upgrade one of the rooms to a 2BR 2BA suite and would pay for the upgrade.  I will call but would appreciate learning your data point.

And maybe others can share their experience? (I know @Denverite paid $80/night to upgrade to 1BR 2BA suite.)

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #303 on: January 08, 2019, 07:24:07 PM »
@Brian, what was the outcome of your request for an upgrade?
We are going in a month. We have two award bookings for standard rooms, one with points and one with a Cat1-5 7-night cert.  Ideally,  I would be prefer to upgrade one of the rooms to a 2BR 2BA suite and would pay for the upgrade.  I will call but would appreciate learning your data point.

And maybe others can share their experience? (I know @Denverite paid $80/night to upgrade to 1BR 2BA suite.)

I paid $70 a night and friends of mine just got back and we also offered that (and took them up on it).  We both had two rooms booked so didn't try for a 2brm...they appear to have less of those and cost a lot more, I think you've got a much better shot at a 1Brm upgrade...bear in mind, we didn't have SPG status.  Although I was there two weeks and they only charged me the upgrade fee for the first week so I actually only paid $35 a night and was super happy!  :P

Offline zow

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #304 on: January 08, 2019, 11:12:00 PM »
I paid $70 a night and friends of mine just got back and we also offered that (and took them up on it).  We both had two rooms booked so didn't try for a 2brm...they appear to have less of those and cost a lot more, I think you've got a much better shot at a 1Brm upgrade...bear in mind, we didn't have SPG status.  Although I was there two weeks and they only charged me the upgrade fee for the first week so I actually only paid $35 a night and was super happy!  :P
Thanks.  We have two rooms, which would be fine for us — just two people per room.  We will just ask nicely for an upgrade at check in.  We are lowly Gold Elite. 

Offline khave2go

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #305 on: January 10, 2019, 04:37:41 PM »
Going to Panama for 4.5 days.
What hotel would people suggest using Marriot/Spg points?
Would anyone go to Westin Playa Bonita for 2 nights?


Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #306 on: January 10, 2019, 11:15:24 PM »
Going to Panama for 4.5 days.
What hotel would people suggest using Marriot/Spg points?
Would anyone go to Westin Playa Bonita for 2 nights?

Sortis...gorgeous and 4 kosher restaurants within two blocks

Offline ayman

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #307 on: January 11, 2019, 08:16:25 AM »
Is zika still a problem in panama city?

Offline Yammer

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #308 on: January 11, 2019, 10:16:43 AM »
Is zika still a problem in panama city?
Yes

Offline Denverite

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #309 on: January 11, 2019, 12:00:09 PM »
Is zika still a problem in panama city?

Actually was Zika ever a problem in Panama city?  The maps show it in Darien on the Columbian border in the jungle.  Anyone whose been can tell you there are very few mosquitos in Panama city itself because of the constant breezes off the water (and I assume spraying)...

Offline travellove

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #310 on: January 20, 2019, 11:55:54 PM »
Last minute decision to travel to Panama next week. I will be there 5 full days IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

From what I understand, most excursions need a tour guide. Will I save $ by renting a car? In other words, can I do any of them on my own if I don’t need a driver?

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?

From what I can see 3 tour companies are mentioned, Barefoot, Real Panama and Almiza. Any recommendation of one over the other?

I saw mentioned “Amador Causeway” & “coastal views walk or bike“are these 2 the same thing?

Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Panama Viejo, is that the same as Casco Viejo?

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Thanks for all your help. I am in the intelligence gathering phase now. Once I have that I will decide what to do each individual day and I am sure I will have some more questions.
Thanks again for your help.

Online E R K

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #311 on: January 21, 2019, 10:09:25 AM »
I’m here now and will attempt to answer some of your questions but I’m still at the beginning so the rest may be answered at the end of the week.

Last minute decision to travel to Panama next week. I will be there 5 full days IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

From what I understand, most excursions need a tour guide. Will I save $ by renting a car? In other words, can I do any of them on my own if I don’t need a driver?

We are using Sorhay as has been recommended. We met a lot of people using her and other guides and everyone had been happy with who they used. We are doing a group tour through Sorhay for San Blas since the private was very $$$$. They say you can’t go yourself as the roads are bumpy and curvy.  Also when you go with a guide they can give you history and point out what you’re seeing. We will also be iso g her for Embrera Village and then Monkey Island, Mirsflores Locks And city tour. The good thing about no car is Uber is very cheap (about $10 from airport) and don’t have to deal with parking.

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?
So far we went to Lula’s by Darna (Meat) and it was awesome. Also went to Jeffry’s (Dairy) for brunch and Aroma f(dairy) MS. I’ll update as we continue to eat our way through! ;D.

From what I can see 3 tour companies are mentioned, Barefoot, Real Panama and Almiza. Any recommendation of one over the other?
See above- everyone who I spoke with was happy with who they used. There are also some private Jewish guides that the Shuls can recommend to you.

I saw mentioned “Amador Causeway” & “coastal views walk or bike“are these 2 the same thing?
Yes. We went on Friday for a lazy day. It was empty. We rented a side by side tandem bike with an awening attached ($10/hour) The guy gave us a bike lock to drop off the bike by the Biodiversity Museum. It was nice but hot and you don’t realize that there are some mild hills. It’s pretty to see but not a must do.
Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?
It is not whale watching season.  However we did go to Pearl Islands yesterday and used Ilene from Pearl iIsland Day Tours as our guide. On the ferry to the islands we did see a fin from a whale and water snort from the blow hole. But don’t count on seeing any. We did have an enjoyable time first driving around the island and snorkeling. We are Survivor (TV Show) fans so it was cool seeing stuff that was left there. The beaches are beautiful and the water is nice.

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?
We are going to San Blas tomorrow so I can answer this later.

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?
We are also doing the Miraflores Locks (just museum) and City tour.

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 
I think you have to take a plane there otherwise it’s like an 8 hour drive.

Panama Viejo, is that the same as Casco Viejo? Google says it’s different.

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Thanks for all your help. I am in the intelligence gathering phase now. Once I have that I will decide what to do each individual day and I am sure I will have some more questions.
Thanks again for your help.

For Shabbos we stayed at JW Marriot which was extremely Shabbos friendly and close to chabad where we davened and ate Friday night and Bet El for lunch. Reservations for both. We met many wonderful people also staying at Marriot and eating with us. We then moved to The Sortis MS. Both hotels are great in different ways. Marriot had nice infinite pool and Shabbos friendly. Sortis is more hip. Don’t like the bathrooms at Marriot- a little too open for me (sliding frosted door) and I think we were upgraded because we had a bathtub (that I found out other rooms did not) that was only enclosed by a curtain. Sortis bathrooms have regular doors. We were upgraded to a corner suite which is a 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom small kitchen and living room area.

We used Kosher GPS app to find all the kosher restaurants around us. Kosher PTY is in Spanish.
Also, Google Translate app was a lifesaver unless you speak Spanish.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 10:52:35 AM by E R K »

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #312 on: January 21, 2019, 10:26:41 AM »


Last minute decision to travel to Panama next week. I will be there 5 full days IY”H.  Traveling without kids. 

I read through all the posts and they are extremely helpful. I have the following questions.  If anyone can answer, would be much appreciated.

From what I understand, most excursions need a tour guide. Will I save $ by renting a car? In other words, can I do any of them on my own if I don’t need a driver?

Which dairy restaurants are Cholov Yisroel and which are not?

There are so many kosher Restaurants there. Which ones are lie the top ones not to be missed?

From what I can see 3 tour companies are mentioned, Barefoot, Real Panama and Almiza. Any recommendation of one over the other?

I saw mentioned “Amador Causeway” & “coastal views walk or bike“are these 2 the same thing?

Is it Whale watching season now. If not, would it be worth it to go to Pearl Island regardless?

No point in doing both San Blas and Pearl Islands. It’s just either or. Correct?

I saw mentioned “Darien Provence”. Where and what is that?

Monkey Island Boat tour -what other day activity can it be combined with?

Parque Natural Meropolitano –what activities are located there?

Boquete-is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Bocas Del Toro- is that something that comes into my plans for a 5 day stay or that’s for a whole other trip? 

Panama Viejo, is that the same as Casco Viejo?

Rainforest gondola tour-where is that?

Portobello Road/ Portobello Island-where and what is that?

Thanks for all your help. I am in the intelligence gathering phase now. Once I have that I will decide what to do each individual day and I am sure I will have some more questions.
Thanks again for your help.
I was very happy with Mario of http://myfriendmario.com (Almiza) as a tour guide.

The Aria Restaurant and Jeffery Bakery both impressed me.

Do the rainforest with the monkey island.

Taxis are very cheap, so for when you're not with a tour guide, it won't cost too much for the taxis.

Casco Viejo is the "old city" so I assume "old Panama" is the same.
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch

Offline dvol

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #313 on: January 21, 2019, 12:56:02 PM »
I've read through this thread as well as the trip reports listed (thanks @Denverite very insightful)  and was hoping for some advice. I'll be flying into PTY in a few weeks from NYC landing early Sunday morning and departing Wednesday morning which gives me 3 days in Panama and will be staying in the W in Panama City.

Besides for the food, what are the must do's that I can cover in those 3 days without 1-being away overnight, 2-getting up at the crack of dawn, 3-Lots of hiking.

From what I've read the following seem to be what I should be covering, but I'm not sure how to spread it out over 3 days or if I'm missing anything:

Casco Viejo
Panama Canal
Jungle Tour
Monkey Island
And if I have an entire day empty then Pearl Islands.

Any recommendations/ideas would be appreciated.

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Panama Master Thread
« Reply #314 on: January 21, 2019, 12:59:04 PM »
I've read through this thread as well as the trip reports listed (thanks @Denverite very insightful)  and was hoping for some advice. I'll be flying into PTY in a few weeks from NYC landing early Sunday morning and departing Wednesday morning which gives me 3 days in Panama and will be staying in the W in Panama City.

Besides for the food, what are the must do's that I can cover in those 3 days without 1-being away overnight, 2-getting up at the crack of dawn, 3-Lots of hiking.

From what I've read the following seem to be what I should be covering, but I'm not sure how to spread it out over 3 days or if I'm missing anything:

Casco Viejo
Panama Canal
Jungle Tour
Monkey Island
And if I have an entire day empty then Pearl Islands.

Any recommendations/ideas would be appreciated.
Jungle tour doesn't sound like it won't have too much hiking
(Quit) pulling out the flowers, and watering the weeds. -Peter Lynch